Outdoor TV Buying Guide | How to Buy an Outdoor TV
When you step back and think about it, outdoor-rated TVs are nothing short of a technological miracle. TVs are by definition fragile and delicate items, with internal components that rapidly fail when exposed to the ever-present moisture and dust in outdoor environments. In the face of this great challenge, manufacturers managed to design TVs that could survive the outdoors — SunBriteTVs by shielding their in-house models inside a rust-proof aluminum casing. Certain models even feature a layer of external protection for full-sunlight installations, and don’t even get us started on the recalibrated displays!
Thanks to these innovations, you can complete your outdoor space with a new-age entertainment system that brings one of the home’s greatest comforts to the backyard. Outdoor TVs make it possible to watch the game while you’re watching the burgers sizzle, take in a movie while enjoying an afternoon breeze, and stream your favorite shows on the patio. But which model is right for you? There are many similarities among our vast selection of all-weather TVs (such as 4K Ultra HD, LED backlighting, and HDR), making the differences more important than ever. Our experts detailed each one below to help smooth along your search.
Should You Go With a Smart Outdoor TV?
Smart TVs are seemingly everywhere these days, so much so that they’ve even made it to the outdoors. But the big questions may remain for some: what even is a smart TV, and is this technology worth it? We certainly think so, but the decision is ultimately up to you. Let’s take a look at what these next-generation models have to offer, particularly in the context of your outdoor space.
Smart Outdoor-Rated TVs
In simplest terms, smart TVs are standard TVs with integrated internet capabilities via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Most come with pre-installed apps for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, access to social media platforms, and even built-in web browsers. Let’s conclude by once again turning to the power of simplest terms: outdoor-rated smart TVs are the way to go for cord-cutters and binge-watchers who hate being cooped up inside.
Non-Smart Outdoor TVs
On the flip side, these units are just regular TVs without internet access. They’re still perfectly capable of connecting to your existing cable service or satellite TV, but you'll start out limited to those traditional viewing options. That being said, if your ideal outdoor TV doesn’t have smart capabilities, there’s nothing stopping you from connecting it to a smart device such as a Roku remote or Amazon Firestick for all your streaming needs. Perhaps streaming isn’t your thing or you just want an outdoor TV to watch the local game while you grill, in which case smart functions don’t matter quite as much.
Choose How to Mount Your Outdoor TV
Just like with indoor TVs, you’ll need a place to put your outdoor unit. We offer 5 different types of mounts to fit the location you prefer and whatever size TV you choose (more on that in a bit). Better yet, every mount has been weatherproofed to resist corrosion over years of outdoor use. All our outdoor TV mounts include the standard VESA pattern — with the holes spaced differently for different sizes, of course — and some even have a locking feature to help protect against theft. Read on to find the mount that’s right for your setup.
Ceiling Mounts for Outdoor TVs
Rather than creating convection heat that warms the air inside the firebox, sear burners emit huge amounts of radiant heat to cook only the food directly above it. That’s why they’re also referred to as infrared burners, which are usually made using a perforated ceramic plate that’s heated by a gas flame until it becomes red-hot. Sear burners like those on the Victory gas grill efficiently deliver steakhouse-level results and don’t dry out your food like a conventional burner might (how does 35% more moisture retention sound?).
Articulating Wall Mounts for Outdoor TVs
If you’re concerned about glare ruining your watch parties, then you should consider using an articulating mount. These full-motion mounts have a retractable arm that attaches the wall and smoothly tilts, swivels, and pans across a huge range of angles. Not only does this help against glare, but it also makes the TV more maneuverable, which is especially important for outdoor spaces with multiple viewing areas.
Wall Mounts for Outdoor TVs
Also known as “fixed” or “stationary” mounts, wall mounts simply hold the TV flat against a wall. Outdoor-rated TVs installed in this fashion are best viewed from straight on, and once mounted, their position isn’t adjustable. Keep this in mind if you anticipate glare or have more than one viewing area in your backyard. While wall attachments are the most basic type of mount, they’re perhaps the most universal.
Pole Mounts for Outdoor TVs
These all-weather TV mounts can be set in concrete, placed in a planter, or bolted directly to a flat surface such as a patio or pool deck. Pole mounts (or “stand” mounts) are the fixture of choice for deck and terrain installations, meaning they’re commonly paired with full-exposure TVs. Their wiring can usually be concealed inside the pole itself, making for a cleaner aesthetic and greater weather protection.
Choose Your Outdoor TV Size
Just pick the biggest one, right? Not so fast — TV size should be based on your planned viewing distance and the size of your space. We’ve found that the best way to determine TV size is as follows: measure the distance from your intended TV placement to your viewing area, then divide by 2. Now take the original distance measurement and divide that by 1.5. Those results will give you the approximate range of TV size. For example, let’s say you plan to sit 10 feet, or 120 inches, away from your outdoor-rated TV. Dividing by 2 gives you 60 inches, and dividing by 1.5 comes out to 80 inches. Therefore, you should select a TV between 60 and 80 inches. Some TV manufacturers recommend dividing viewing distance by 3, but recent advancements in screen resolution make it harder to notice imperfections at close range. A final thing to keep in mind: remember that TVs are measured diagonally, from corner to corner.
41-47 Inch Weatherproof TVs
- Approximately 38–39 inches wide and 22 inches tall
- Best for smaller outdoor spaces
- Sized for one or two viewing angles at a short distance
48-65 Inch Weatherproof TVs
- Approximately 44–59 inches wide and 26–34 inches tall
- Best for moderately sized outdoor spaces
- Sized for a few viewing angles at a medium distance
66+ Inch Weatherproof TVs
- Approximately 61–75 inches wide and 36–43 inches tall
- Best for larger outdoor spaces
- Sized for several viewing angles at a long distance
Final Considerations When Buying an Outdoor-Rated TV
Don’t change the channel just yet! We know you’ve had to process a lot throughout this article, but there are a few parting thoughts we’d like to leave you with. Below we touch on the various upgrades you can choose from to tailor your home entertainment center to your specific needs, along with a word on dust covers and a few more considerations related to TV placement. Consider these the channels you never knew you were paying for but are glad you have.
Where Should You Place Your Outdoor TV?
Location isn’t just about where you’d like to put your TV — certain models are made for particular placements and will have a much shorter lifespan if installed in the wrong setting. There are 2 main placements you should be aware of: in a covered or shaded area, or in full exposure to sunlight and the elements. The difference ultimately comes down to the degree of weatherproofing and screen calibration, which varies from brand to brand. Still, it’s important to know which series correspond to your desired placement so you don’t waste any time when looking for your perfect outdoor-rated TV.
Partial Shade Outdoor TVs
A solid portion of our selection is meant to be under cover only, be it beneath a covered patio, porch, or pergola. That’s because these models are designed with only internal weatherproofing — protecting their exteriors is much easier when the units aren’t fully exposed to the elements. Both SunBriteTV series are designed for shade only, though they’re calibrated for different levels of brightness.
Full Sun Outdoor TVs
Here’s where all-weather TV brands really step up their game. In addition to the special internal weatherproofing all outdoor TVs receive, full-exposure models must have external protections to prevent corrosion from moisture, greater temperature extremes, and other elements. Of course, full-sunlight TVs also boast recalibrated displays for optimal brightness and contrast to combat glare. Even direct sun can’t ruin your watch party!
Outdoor-Rated Speakers & Soundbars
For almost all our weatherproof TVs, outdoor speakers and soundbars are an optional accessory; the exceptions are a few SunBriteTV Signature 2 Series models that don’t have an included soundbar. Still, the right audio upgrade can make a world of difference for your outdoor viewing experience, especially if your guests tend to talk over the game. Each unit is weatherproofed just like its companion TV to keep out dust and moisture. Oh, and it pumps out high-definition audio fine-tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers. (Crazy, we know.)
SunBrite TVs soundbars, meanwhile, come in different sizes and colors to match specific TVs. Keep in mind that, much like indoor sound systems, you don’t have to pair the brand of speaker or soundbar with the brand of TV you choose. Your selection should ultimately depend on what you’ll use the TV for and your personal entertainment style.
Guess what: outdoor remotes also need to be weatherproofed! As with speakers and soundbars, each brand applies its special weatherization process to its remotes so they can function in the elements. While every outdoor-rated TV we carry comes with an outdoor remote, there are some interesting upgrades available.
Outdoor TV Covers
Though all-weather TVs are built to handle whatever the outdoors throws at them, there’s no harm in adding an extra layer of protection. Outdoor TV covers are more than up for the job, with heavy-duty material designed to preserve the cleanliness of your unit when not in use. Dust covers will also keep nesting birds and critters away from the TV, which is why we strongly recommend having one handy if you plan to leave the unit outside during the winter months. Best of all, you can use a cover from whichever brand you like as long as it’s the correct size for your TV.
Other Concerns about All-Weather TV Placement
We discussed the 2 types of placements near the beginning of this section, but there are a few extra considerations you should be aware of as you decide on the specific installation site. Most importantly — are there outlets nearby? Outdoor-rated TVs are modern marvels, yet even they still need a power source to operate. You should also keep in mind where you’d position a potential speaker system, as well as storage cabinets for any media players, cable boxes, or other devices.
A few other rules of thumb:
- When deciding between multiple areas, always pick the placement with the most shade
- TVs will melt if positioned too closely to a grill (we’ve seen it happen)
- Don’t forget to take your own comfort into account
That last point can be easy to overlook when determining placement, but it’s important to remember that the entire reason you’re interested in buying an outdoor TV is to help create a relaxing atmosphere. If your intended placement puts your viewing area halfway across the backyard, then you should probably reconsider the installation site. And while we’re on the subject of comfort… well, let’s just say there’s no better place to enjoy your outdoor-rated TV from than the cozy embrace of deep seating patio furniture.
Well, that’s it for this installation of BBQGuys Buying Guides! We hope you learned a thing or two about outdoor-rated TVs and feel more confident than when you started. Of course, getting answers usually leads to more questions, so call our outdoor living experts at 1-844-542-0115 for additional information about all-weather TVs.
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